Kampot town officials yesterday distributed drinking water to 500 families from Andong Khmer commune, whose other water supplies have been completely cut off by drought.
Provincial police chief Moa Chan Makthurith said that while Kampot has been able to deal with the drought for the past few months, the shortage has escalated in recent weeks, leading local residents to request immediate assistance from the government. Authorities trucked the water in from other parts of the country.
“The wells, the ponds and other water sources are dry now,” he said. “Now, they really have no water to use at all.”
Sem Pheakdy, a resident of Andong Khmer, confirmed the increasingly dire situation. “Since April [began] . . . we have not had water at all,” he said.
The Ministry of Water Resources and Meteorology has called this the worst drought in 50 years, affecting at least 88 communes and tens of thousands of families nationwide.
The shortage will likely persist for at least another month – the ministry expects the rainy season not to arrive until June.
Bun Hean, secretary of state at the ministry, said that the El Niño weather pattern and the lack of storms going inland are major factors in the drought.
Hean said that the Ministry of Rural Development is digging wells and trying to divert water from the remaining creeks in stricken areas.
The government is also trying to reinforce existing reservoirs to store more water during this year’s rainy season. The Ministry of Rural Development was not available for comment yesterday.
Vietnam and Thailand are experiencing historic droughts of their own, according to statements released by their governments.
Additional reporting by Igor Kossov